A luxury cruise is the ideal way to explore the world’s most beautiful, fascinating and enriching destinations, whether you’re a sun-worshipper or a culture vulture. There are however, some ports which offer you the perfect balance of both beaches and buildings. This Cruise Week blog looks at seven of the best from around the world.
As a coastal capital which is home to one of history’s most celebrated artistic and architectural visionaries, Barca’s the perfect place to enjoy both sun and culture. There are over two miles of beach to enjoy and plenty of shallow water if you fancy taking a dip to cool down. As for architecture, Barcelona is a showcase for many of Antoni Gaudi’s Modernist works, most famously his unfinished masterpiece Basilica La Sagrada Familia. The striking and otherworldly place of worship is always busy, so get there early to avoid the queues. Elsewhere in the city, Casa Batllo and Guell Park are other popular attractions for Gaudi afficionados, while the Gothic Quarter is a real architectural showcase, with buildings dating back to both Roman and Medieval periods.
Rio de Janeiro
When you consider that one of Rio’s most popular attractions is a beach immortalised in music, you know it’s a sure-fire go-to when it comes to topping up the tan. Ipanema Beach is every bit the taste of Rio life you’d imagine and one of the world’s most famous beaches. Copacabana Beach follows hot on its heels and is another sandy sun-drenched icon. Watching over you during your day on the beach is the city’s most celebrated architectural attraction, the tower statue of Christ the Redeemer. This is none other than one of the world’s most famous structures and one of its most popular tourist attractions with people of all faiths and none. As far as architecture goes, the city’s Municipal Theatre is a lavish masterpiece and a must-see if you’re taking in a show or not.
Australia’s famous for enjoying blissful sunshine as those of us in the UK struggle through the winter and the country’s most well-known place to do this is Bondi Beach in Sydney. It’s perfect for relaxing, trying your hand at water sports or just people-watching as you take it easy in one of over 100 cafes or bars. Manly beach and Coogee Beach are two other popular choices. When it comes to architectural attractions, they don’t come much more famous than the city’s celebrated Opera House – a UNESCO World Heritage Site which attracts millions of visitors each year. Then of course there’s the harbour’s other landmark structure, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which you can get truly acquainted by way of a bridge walk excursion.
Miami is synonymous with beach lifestyle. In fact, there’s so much of a beach culture in this Florida sun mecca that ‘Miami Beach’ refers to a whole area of the city, not just a single beach. It’s every bit the American dream beach paradise you’ve seen immortalised on film and in TV and it would be very easy to spend all your time soaking up the rays and having fun during your time in port. However, venture in-land a little and you’ll be able to see one of the city’s lesser-known facets. In the Miami Beach area, you can also explore the historic Art Deco district, which boasts over 800 different buildings. Walking tours are available, which allow you to fully appreciate the importance of the area.
You’d be forgiven for not immediately associating Japan with beaches, but in truth, Kochi is a great place for a spot of sun-worship, before heading to a place or two of worship of a different kind. Katsurahama Beach offers the perfect escape for those who want all the ambience of the coast but none of the noisy splashing around that’s sometimes associated with it. There’s no swimming allowed here, which means you can lie back and soak up the rays as well as the leafy scenery, of which there’s plenty. Inland, explore Kochi Castel, which dates back to 1603 and Chikurinji Temple, which is one of temples on the Buddhist Shikoku 88 temple Pilgrimage, so always attracts plenty of visitors.
Soaking up the rays in St Tropez has always been a popular pastime and the French Riviera is a revered place for sun-lovers in general. The most well-known is Cap Taillat, as it’s where the beach scenes in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang were filmed. Plage de Pampelonne is also very popular, while Plage de la Bouillabaisse is as revered for the fine food on offer as much as it is for its sunbathing. It’s perfect if you want to escape the crowds too, as it doesn’t tend to get as busy with tourists. The citadel is a great place for architecture lovers and houses a maritime museum, while the Chapelle Sainte Anne is a quaint place of worship which offers some fantastic views of St Tropez, owing to its lofty position in the town.
When it comes to beaches, the Caribbean is the world’s number one destination for a reason and indeed, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to sandy experiences on a luxury cruise in the region. Antigua however, is famous for its 365 beaches – one for each day of the year – so it’s a natural choice for this blog. Valley Church Beach is a particular favourite, while the pink sand of Half Moon Bay has an allure all of its own. There are secluded coves, fun-packed expanses and great places to eat. Basically, every beach experience you could hope for is here. Antigua also has some architectural strings to its bow too, with the British colonial Fort Barrington watching impassively over the fun-filled proceedings and the Admiral’s House in Nelson’s Dockyard always a visitors’ favourite.
We have an excellent selection of luxury itineraries available which offer you the opportunity to experience these fantastic ports for yourself. When you’ve found your ideal sailing, just give our expert and knowledgeable Cruise Concierge a call on 0808 202 6105 to secure your place.